Album of the Year sponsored by Arqiva
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: ‘Stretch Music’
Christian Scott is a two-time Edison Award winning and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive. Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, “Rewind” That was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” by Billboard Magazine, earning Christian two prominent features on their cover and inclusion in their list of “Ones to Watch in 2006.” Since 2002 Scott has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and two live albums the most recent being the explorative album “Stretch Music”. The album comes as an effort by Scott to ‘stretch’ jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many musical forms, languages and cultures as he can. It is an attempt to demonstrate that Jazz should not be a rigid definition of a genre rather a term that is used to describe a form of music. Scott states that because his work is inherently jazz does not mean that it is exclusively jazz. The album itself is a blend of a clear variety of styles and genres that goes together to create something as new as it is exciting. This brilliantly talented musician has ignored certain criticisms that were flung his way and instead has used them as a platform for innovation and he urges others to do the same.
Hiatus Kaiyote: ‘Choose Your Weapon’
Melbourne based future soul outfit, Hiatus Kaiyote, have already been nominated for a 2014 Grammy for ‘Best R&B performance’ with the track “Nakamara” from their first album, Tawk Tomahawk, received another nomination for the same award with the song “Breathing Underwater” from their new album just missing out on both occasions. Hiatus Kaiyote return after a period of two years with their intriguing new neo-soul album “Choose Your Weapon”. The album brings together influences from many different genres including R&B, African funk and progressive rock into a jazz setting. It is unusual in that the mood of the album changes frequently, often surprising the listener with a change in rhythm. “Choose Your Weapon” is considered by the band to be a continuation of their first album with both ignoring the confines that categorising can have upon creativity. Therefore, both records have shed the restrictions that genre can have, allowing the group to create a remarkably refreshing album significantly moving the world of neo-soul forward into a new and exciting direction incorporating influences from countless different musical traditions and styles.
Charenee Wade: ‘Offering’
Charenee Wade earns the distinction of being the only musician to ever place twice in the Thelonious Monk International voice competition. She has the sassiness in her voice of Dee Dee Bridgewater or Sarah Vaughan. “Offering - The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson” is a revelation, really shedding a different light on the great and meaningful compositions of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson that are as relevant today as they were at the time of their release. The incredible band that has been put together for this album form a powerful backdrop to Charenee’s amazing voice. The album turns classics such as ‘Home is Where the Hatred is’ and ‘Song of the Wind’ into almost unrecognisable tunes owing their revolutionary new arrangements to Wade’s outstanding skill as a composer and singer. Choosing to interpret this material was not an easy route, but in the true spirit of a jazz improviser, Charenee has absolutely made these songs her own.
Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest: ‘Sylva’
“Sylva”, a collaboration between Snarky Puppy and the Metropole Orkest, comes in the form of a cohesive orchestral suite rather than Snarky Puppy’s usual collection of jazz numbers. Snarky Puppy are some of the most exciting musicians in the Jazz world and their almost 40 strong crew dubbed “The Fam” are well known around the world for their new and exciting fusion of different genres and styles into one performance that can only be Snarky Puppy. The Metropole Orkest is a multiple Grammy winning jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands and is the largest and most influential ensemble of its kind in the world. This album uses the talents of the Orchestra to highlight Snarky Puppy’s and innovative manner of creating music. “The Fam” have given themselves no time to rest and have since released two more album in early 2016 further emphasising the sheer energy and enthusiasm that the band possess. “Sylva” contains six movements, each inspired by different forests around the world that have left a deep impression on Snarky Puppy leader Michael League. “Sylva” entered the charts at number one on both Billboard's Jazz and Heatseekers Charts and won ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ at this year’s Grammys. “Sylva” is an epic album that marvellously blends Metropole Orkest’s phenomenal sound with the energy of Snarky Puppy’s composition and is a credit to the talent that emanates from them both.
Maria Schneider 'THe Thompson Fields'
Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known in 1994 when they released their first recording, “Evanescence”. Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with twelve Grammy nominations and five Grammy awards. Schneider and her orchestra were awarded two Grammys at the 2016 ceremony. The first, ‘Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals’, recognised the excellence of her collaboration with David Bowie on the track “Sue (Or in A season of Crime)” which appeared in a modified form on his acclaimed album ‘Blackstar’. The second GRAMMY was given for ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ acknowledging her brilliant work on “The Thompson Fields”. The Thompson Fields was released in June 2015 and the pieces range from being descriptive of the open landscape of Maria’s home in southwest Minnesota, to being inspired by the first time she heard a samba school rehearse in Rio.
Schneider and her orchestra were awarded two Grammys at the 2016 ceremony, one of which was given for ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ acknowledging her brilliant work on “The Thompson Fields”.